Seven people have been indicted on charges they stole identities and used them for a prison phone scam.
Two former employees of the Revenue Department, two telephone company employees, a nursing home employee, a private citizen, and an ex-con are listed in the federal indictment, charged with stealing the identities of the mentally disabled and other group home residents. The information was then used to set up a scheme to let inmates make free calls from prisons–and the indictment says they did, 80-thousand dollars worth.
The first tip went to the state attorney general’s office. Spokesman Scott Holste says the Postal Service got involved because some of the telephones used were sent through the mail. The Department of Housing and Urban Development got involved because the phones were delivered to a federal housing project.
Prisoners in Missouri can only make collect calls out.
The indictment says former convict Clayton Deardorff was the mastermind…that he recruited his sister who worked in a group home, and others to steal identities to be used to get phones and numbers to which prisoner’s calls were charged.
Holste says state and federal investigators have been working for 18 months to unscramble the operation.